01.06.2016

Mixed-use development projects: a growing trend in real estate

Integration is a trend in human development.

Integration is a trend in human development. Just as in technology minimalism in design and cost resulted in a simple smartphone that made phones, calendars, clocks, calculators and even computers redundant, this process repeats itself in a different way in our own work. Concentrating several functions in one place looks like the natural path because it invites optimization and economy of resources.

 

The pattern is not alien to real estate. The term mixed-uses applies to developments that offer more than one use or serve more than one purpose. These kinds of projects combine different components in one place: hotels, offices, apartments, shops, industrial facilities and even theme parks, ski and skating rinks, marinas, parks and public squares.

 

Its dimensions vary from a three-story building with shops on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors, to communities of multiple buildings with shops, offices, clinics and apartment complexes.

 

Currently, the upward movement of mixed uses is clear. Millennials are increasingly pushing the vision of living and working close to the services and amenities of their choice. The generational push has fertilized the land for these developments, which flourish mainly in cities where the cost of the land is high but services are affordable.

 

In short, the vision behind these projects is to integrate communities in unique places, where people can live, work, shop and go about their daily routine more comfortably.

Challenges

 

However, projects of this nature mean greater complexity in their design, construction and operation.

 

The combination of uses entails a cluster of additional problems for the developer: the solution and operation of the different accesses, interior circulation, security issues, use of parking lots and noise between commercial and residential components, among others. Thus, it will be very important for us to incorporate teams with experience in solving these factors.

 

With regard to the resident, the noise and lack of access control inherent to a commercial area can represent barriers to their comfort and safety.

 

Advantages

 

Proximity is a balm in large cities with rampant traffic. A development of mixed uses implies a lifestyle of easy transit between the housing area and common places such as offices, shopping centers, cafes or restaurants.

 

In addition, some projects mix high design with great flexibility in their spaces, favor routes for pedestrians and bicycles, lighten dependence on cars, and generally promote a sense of community.

 

Another advantage is the efficient use of land, infrastructure, and services. If we were to disperse the components that make such a development, its construction would require more land and maintenance. On the other hand, when we seek density, the grouping of residences and businesses erected vertically optimizes not only the spaces but also the savings in the main items of expenditure, as equipment, security, cleaning services, etc. are shared.

 

Finally, in terms of efficiency, shared parking spaces deserve their own mention. With the operation of diverse uses at different peak times, we have the potential for synergies such as the distribution of drawers for offices during working hours and entertainment sites (cinemas, bars and restaurants) at night.

 

In short, mixed-use projects…

 

  • Stimulate variety in design and housing options
  • Promote more optimal and dense development in compact lands
  • Reduce car use and pollution

 

They create pedestrian-friendly environments, shortening the distances between the different uses: housing, work, commerce and recreation.

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